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April 23, 2024 20 mins

In Stargate SG-1, Samantha Carter held many titles and shattered many stereotypes (while also upholding some). We decode her fictional and IRL accomplishments and legacy.

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Speaker 1 (00:05):
Hey, this is Annie and Samantha, and welcome to stephan
Never told you a protection of iHeartRadio. And welcome to
another sub sub sub segment of fictional women around the world.
Welcome back, Samantha.

Speaker 2 (00:25):
I've missed y'all.

Speaker 1 (00:26):
Ah, well you've come back for one. That's You're You're
just gonna have a great time of me talking at you.
But the character's name is Samantha. That was not a purpose,
but it is true.

Speaker 2 (00:38):
We're all the best.

Speaker 1 (00:41):
She went by sam which I'm going to talk about
later because I think they did that on purpose to
make her more masculine. But anyway, Yes, today we are
talking about Samantha Carter from the show Stargate SG one,
although she was in all of the other shows as well.

(01:01):
So a brief history about me with this show and Samantha.
You actually got to witness some of this before I
think you knew what was going on. I had a huge,
huge crush on the character Daniel Jackson from that show, huge,
and he was at He was one of two characters

(01:22):
I'd had a crush on that was at Dragon Con.
I think the first year you came. Oh and I
was dressed at disco Luke, and remember I was like,
I made eye contact. And then the other guy I
had a crush on, who is Chris from Charmed, was
there and I made eye contact with him as well.

Speaker 3 (01:40):
Yeah, I had no idea who you were talking about,
and I just nodded a lot, yes, but you were there.

Speaker 2 (01:45):
That was I was present for the actor.

Speaker 1 (01:50):
Played Daniel Jackson was there and I did my best
to keep my cool and my disco Luke outfit. I
when I was looking this up, I rewatched this show
I think seven or eight years ago, so I'm not
like the freshest and the most up to date. I
really need to go back because apparently there's an implication

(02:12):
that this character is gay, like maybe being manipulatively gay
or as an insult. I don't know, but I need
to go back watch it, I know.

Speaker 3 (02:23):
So yeah, I'm gonna say I know nothing about the show,
Like I can't even tell you who was in it.

Speaker 2 (02:30):
So I know, I know, Like I know so little.

Speaker 1 (02:33):
Did you see the movie?

Speaker 2 (02:35):
I didn't know there was a movie. That's how little
I know. Okay, okay, I'm it on this journey with me.

Speaker 1 (02:45):
So this show was on Showtime when I was growing
up but it would replay on in my where I
was Fox five at three AM, and I would come.
I would sneak down the stairs because my TV didn't
get any reception, and I would put it on mute
but with subtitles, and I would just watch it. And

(03:06):
I did this for years of my life. And I'm
pretty sure my parents knew what I was doing, but
in my mind they had no idea.

Speaker 2 (03:13):
We're so sneaky.

Speaker 1 (03:14):
I was so sneaky, and I just do this. This
was like what I did. That's how I watched it.
I still quote this show all of the time and
almost no one realizes it.

Speaker 2 (03:26):
I love it. I would never know, Oh my gosh.

Speaker 1 (03:29):
Okay, So I've tried to be subtle about this story
because the details would give away too much. But one
of the quotes is I learned like the first ten
decimal points of Pie from this, and because of this,
I have been able to discern certain things in video

(03:53):
games and otherwise because I just know those furst I
know Pie out to ten digits because of Stargate want.
I can forgive, but I could never forget. Quote as
the Sioux used to say, today is a good day
to die quote and then I've recently had this conversation

(04:14):
with some friends of mine. There's a whole episode where
they go through like the scientific process of what denotes
a living being? Is it fear? Is it the knowledge
of fear?

Speaker 2 (04:23):
Is it? Anyway?

Speaker 1 (04:25):
Also, my mom once walked in at the worst part.
There is a part in the movie. There's there's several movies.
I'll break this down in a second, but there's a
part in like the Stargate SG one movie that kicked
off this whole thing where Share who's Daniel's like love,
is naked and is getting implanted with a worm called

(04:52):
the ku Old. And they were like the top enemies
of of well, oh no, they were for a long
time year as the top enemies. But my mom walked
in on this part, probably one of the reasons I
was watching at three am without telling them. Yes, But anyway,

(05:15):
all right, today we are talking about Samantha Carter played
by Amanda Tapping, who was first introduced in Stargate SG one,
which is a sci fi military television show that ran
from nineteen ninety seven to two thousand and seven in
various forms and on various networks. There are ten seasons
and over two hundred episodes. It is part of a

(05:36):
much larger Stargate universe kickstarted by the nineteen ninety four
film that asked the question what if aliens really did
build the Pyramids? And then they find this gate that
opens wormholes so that they can travel all over the
Stargate if you will. It's got a lot of Egyptian
God references, the ideas that God's like hath the or

(06:00):
were actually aliens possessing humans, although not always humans. There's
Greek and Norse mythology gray aliens. I only just put
this together researching this episode. They're called the Assgar oh gosh. Anyway,
the gray aliens are kind of like Norse mythology. The
legend of King Arthur becomes a big thing. It's also

(06:22):
planning on the idea of Area fifty one or any
other secret to military installations that are investigating aliens. It's
similar to Star Trek in the X Files or even
Supernatural in terms of genre bending. There's a time travel episode.
There's a separate Groundhog Day episode. There's a mental illness
episode that I still think about.

Speaker 2 (06:43):
So okay.

Speaker 1 (06:45):
The movie, which by the way, has like James Vader
and Kurt Russell, who are not in the show at all.

Speaker 2 (06:52):
They recast them.

Speaker 3 (06:53):
Oh wait, so is may ruin.

Speaker 1 (07:05):
This Richard dan Anderson. Yes, okay, so he didn't know
when Kurt Russell's character recall.

Speaker 2 (07:12):
They recasted him, how dare they?

Speaker 1 (07:15):
But they have as a like fun not O'Neill. His
last name is O'Neill in the movie with Kurt Russell,
it's one L. In the show with Richard dan Anderson,
two l's gotcha?

Speaker 2 (07:28):
Yes, nicely played. Thanks, well, I didn't have anything know it,
but so.

Speaker 1 (07:35):
Yes. Samantha Carter, this character was not in the movie.
In the nineteen ninety four movie, she was in all
subsequent Stargates. She won movies, including the first one that
kind of launched the series. But they discover aliens and
the Stargate, and of course the US government is freaked out,
and they also kind of want to know what the
galaxy has to offer, so they put together these elite

(07:58):
teams to travel the galaxy, and Samantha Carter is one
of the people. They were like, let's get her on
the team. She is a pilot, she's an astrophysicist, an engineer,
and a colonel later general. I think She's held a
lot of ranks. Who is recruited for the primary team
SG one. She is the quote skeptic, the scientist for

(08:19):
their crew. She was the second in command for this
team for almost a decade, and she did serve as
the first in command for a year. Her longtime commanding
officer and will they are won't they romance? Although I'll
talk about this more later. I think it's more of
a like no, probably not. Jack O'Neill said that her
brain was a national resource. Her father was an Air

(08:43):
Force major general who had a major influence on her
life in a lot of ways. In one episode, she
laments that her father wishes that she had been a boy.
Her mother died when she was young, and she had
long blamed her father because he was supposed to pick
her up and then didn't, and her mom died in
the taxi that she had to take instead, But she

(09:04):
eventually forgave him by the time the show starts. She's
been working in the Stargate program for years and has
been key in developing the science behind the dialing system
as they call it of the Stargate. Basically have to
put like seven constellations in and then it will be
like whoomp, and it will take you somewhere.

Speaker 2 (09:26):
Yeah.

Speaker 1 (09:26):
Thanks. At first, it was believed the gate could only
go to one planet, but she was the one that
realized it could go two hundreds of worlds, if not more,
and travel they did. I have to condense or this
episode will never end, but she bonded with her team.
She went to mini worlds. She's semi adopted an alien
girl named Cassandra with her friend doctor Fraser. Her father

(09:52):
was consensually possessed by a rogue alien of their enemies,
the aforementioned goa would which, by the way, yeah, they're
like worms that crawl inside you. She was temporarily possessed.
She fell in love with a quote ascended being oh
my gosh, this is a whole thing I can't go into.

(10:13):
She successfully advocated for replacement for a beloved then dead,
also whole thing team member. She had a replicator version
of herself, created by a replicator who was in love
with her.

Speaker 2 (10:27):
Her father died.

Speaker 1 (10:28):
She helped develop a cure for a disease that was
devastating an alien species. Maybe has a relationship with Jack O'Neil.
After much ust unresolved sexual tension visited alternate realities, alternate
timelines which alter realities, and alternate timelines are different, to

(10:49):
be clear in this show, not the same thing, obviously, yes, obviously.
In her off time, she likes to work on her motorcycle,
do like engineering, tinkering, play chess with Cassandra, and eventually
go fishing, which is sort of a Jack keeps asking
her to go fishing and she keeps saying no, but eventually,

(11:11):
after her father dies, she says yes, okay. So themes
she was one of a slew of third wave feminist
characters from this decade, though she was particularly very male coded.
As I said, she was military, a scientist. She has
short hair. She goes by Sam, which is typically associated
with men, or at the very least gender neutral at

(11:33):
the same time, though in later season she helped raise
a child with her good friend doctor Fraser. Doctor Janet Fraser,
her male rival once referred to Ors referred to her
as a quote dumb blonde. So she does base obstacles
like that. That's certainly in the movie, which she comes

(11:54):
out swinging like I know you're all men, but I've
been here and done this. So, by the way, she
eventually developed a somewhat begrudging mutual respect with this enemy.
But yeah, she goes on to sort of become or
share the role that I would liken too, Black Widow
in the MCU of keeping the team together. Like she's

(12:18):
a very strong character and she's very headstrong, but she is.
She does sort of become the person, even though it
doesn't seem that way at first. It's trying to keep
this team together, which I always think is interesting that
kind of falls to the woman. But she is sort
of the mediator between the civilian world, which Daniel Jackson represents,

(12:41):
in the military world, which Jack O'Neil represents. She's definitely
an example of women working theirs off, Like she's all
of these things I just listed to get even somewhat
footing with their lesser male colleagues. And yeah, one of
the very first interactions you see of her in the

(13:03):
show is basically her going over her resume and saying,
have you done that? Do we need to arm wrestle?
But even so, she does have these doubts about herself.
Something else, just to touch on shows like these, again,
I haven't gone back and watched it, but I feel

(13:23):
like a lot of shows like these where you're traveling
to other planets, that there is often an element of
like white saviorism. Not every episode or even often perhaps,
but there are definitely some cringier episodes, and there is
one where Samantha Is in particular was used as sort

(13:47):
of like a white lady showing off the society to
their error of their ways, which has not aged well.
So to make note of that, the romance Okay, so

(14:12):
most of her romantic interests died. She is jokingly referred
to as the Black Widow Curse. Funnily enough, the actor
who played Sam's father said he wanted her to end
up with Daniel since they both were intellectual types, but
also because Daniel died and came back all the time,

(14:32):
to the point his fandom nickname was the Wonder that
is Daniel, so that he would cancel out her Black
Widow Curse, which I did not know. It makes sense.
I like it this first, I've heard of it, and
I was a huge fan, so go ahead. Yeah. So

(14:57):
her relationship with Jack O'Neill, who is her superior, was
I guess her most enduring. I wouldn't even say romance,
because their feelings for each other were revealed during a crisis,
but they both agreed not to pursue a relationship due
to their working relationship, and in a lot of the
alternate realities they were engaged or married, and in the

(15:20):
time Loop episode, Jack kissed her. Of course, she does
not remember this Time Loop Jack does yes, often invite
her to things that she turns down, including fishing. There
are a lot of hints towards their romantic relationship in
later seasons, especially when Richard Dean Anderson retired and wasn't

(15:41):
there anymore, and they were like, oh, maybe they're together,
but it was never explicitly confirmed. The writers resisted a romance.
In fact, here's a quote from sci Fi Wire. Not
every male female duo has to be romantic. SG one
writer Heather e ash recalled in a recent interview with

(16:01):
a companion, it's a trope. I'm quite done with. I'm
kind of bummed that Skullly and Molder. You know that
they made them succumb to Yes, they're going to be
romantically involved because they work together, because they're men and women.
We didn't really want to go there. It's a trope.
It's kind of sexist. Let's just call it out. It's
really sexist in very very male gaze and that weird

(16:21):
thought that men and women can only be around each
other in a sexual way. I know Amanda didn't want
to deal with it, and she was very much like,
thank god, there's a woman on set, a woman who
appreciates science, because I was a huge science geek. Ash
explained when we put the kiss in my episode, it
wasn't to kind of have them go, oh, they're now
going to be together. It was more like, oh, they're

(16:43):
going to kiss, and it's like kissing my brother, you know,
like back to the future. And Amanda Tapping was really
influential in how the character was depicted. For instance, she
was key in pushing for her friendship with doctor Frazier,
one of the few other women on the show in
the beginning, as opposed to an adversarial relationship. As other

(17:03):
women were introduced who were not outright villains, she was
friendling with them too and work collaboratively with them. And
that's honestly, one of my favorite relationships in the show
is Samantha and doctor Frazier. Janet I definitely really did
not put Jack and Samantha together when I watched it.
It's true that I'm often sort of oblivious to these things.

Speaker 2 (17:24):
But no, it just wasn't a big thing. I don't know.

Speaker 1 (17:31):
Yeah, it's also yeah, more queer representation, because why is
it like it's only when a woman enters the largely
male picture that we're like, it's romance. Then let's think
about this, correct And here's a quote I wanted to include.
So after being proposed to by her another on again,

(17:55):
off again guy, I guess I'll say. She says, I mean,
they make you afraid of being alone, but at the
same time tell you not to settle for anything less
than the perfect romantic ideal, like that actually exists anywhere
in the real world. I mean, either way, you can't win. Yeah,
they did work out. Influence. She was definitely a very
influential character. I will say when she first was introduced,

(18:19):
she wasn't very fleshed out, and then she grew from there.
She became a fan favorite. She is a character that
comes up a lot when women are writing about characters
that did influence them. She has appeared in episodes of
Stargate Atlantis and Stargate Universe, which puts her at the
top of appearances of any Stargate character. In this universe.

(18:41):
She is one of only eight characters and the only
woman to appear in all three Stargate series. I literally
found a whole paper on her, and it's called the
Feminist Utopia, and Stargate is she won. A part of
their argument. Again, if you're like the least interested in
stuff like this, go read it. But a part of

(19:03):
their argument was that the numbers of women working in
this organization far outstripped the actual real world numbers that
you would see. Here's a quote from the article. The
show critiques the contemporary conditions of the present day which
constrain women and, in the scientific context, limit the boundaries
and knowledge by rewarding egotistical behavior rather than generating a
collective and supportive culture of inquiry. Stargate SG one repeatedly

(19:27):
presents heteronormative domesticity and as alien to Carter's aspirations. The
absurd hostility and ineptitude of men's scientists is also frequently
thrown into sharp relief, decentering patriarchal claims to scientific process
and opening them to critical analysis. I'm telling you, this
was an intense paper, and I recommend it. I recommend it.

(19:52):
I would love to hear from any listeners if you
have any thoughts about this. This was a fun look back.
This was such a big part of my my life
for a while, but it was nice. It was nice
to reflect. But yeah, listeners, if you have any thoughts
or any suggestions for this segment, please let us know.
You can email us at Stephanie and mom Steph at
iHeartMedia dot com. You can find us on Twitter at

(20:13):
mom Stuff Podcast, or on Instagram and TikTok at Steffane
Never Told You. Also fund us on YouTube, and we
have a tea public store and a book you can
get wherever you get your books. Thanks as always too,
our super producer Christina, our executive producer, my Aunt, our
contructor Joey.

Speaker 2 (20:26):
Thank you, They see

Speaker 1 (20:27):
You for listening Stuff on Never Told You to book
Should I Heart Radio For more podcast from my Heart Radio,
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